What is EMS?
EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services. EMS provides medical care outside of the hospital or medical office setting. Most often, people call EMS when they have had an accident or are experiencing a medical emergency. Emergencies might include heart attack, difficulty breathing, falls, accidents, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdose and acute illnesses. EMS services may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and en route to a hospital.
Who provides EMS?
When a person becomes ill or injured and dials 911 or another emergency phone number, the call is answered by an EMS dispatcher, who is trained to obtain important information from the call-taker about the location and type of emergency. The dispatcher also may give the caller patient care instructions while sending emergency responders to the scene of the emergency. These responders are trained to different levels.
Emergency Medical Responder (who have about 40 hours of training);
EMT (who have about 110 hours of training);
AEMT (who have about 200-400 hours of training); and
Paramedics (who have 1,000 or more hours of training).
The training level of responders is a local decision and based upon local resources and the priorities of those who fund the EMS system. Each of these levels of EMS responders is trained to perform different kinds of skills to assist the patient.
EMS responders work under protocols approved by a physician medical director. Many of these medical directors are members of the National Association of EMS Physicians. The medical director oversees the care of patients in the EMS system, and he or she is knowledgeable about patient care interventions and how EMS systems deliver care. Typically, EMS medical directors work in conjunction with local EMS leaders to assure quality patient care.
EMS care may be provided by a private ambulance company, fire departments, police departments, a public EMS agency, a private ambulance company, a hospital or by a combination of the above. EMS responders may be paid or volunteers in the community.
How can I get a job in EMS?
In most locations in the United States, the first step you must take to work in EMS is to take courses to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). This is the minimum level of education that most EMS professionals have before entering the workforce. Individuals who work as firefighters or police officers may perform some emergency medical work when trained as First Responders. Some paramedic programs provide an all inclusive program that includes both EMT and paramedic training in one program. All levels of EMS training are set by the federal government through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Where can I obtain EMT training?
EMT training is offered locally through Barton Community College and local EMS Services. If you are interested in EMT training, you should contact your local EMS office. If you are interested in paramedic training, you should contact your local community college. Both will help you find training in your area.
How long is EMS training?
* EMR – 40 hours of training
* EMT – 110 hours of training
* AEMT – 200 to 400 hours of training
* Paramedics – 1,000 or more hours of training
What does an EMT learn?
An EMT must be proficient in CPR, and training is centered on recognizing and treating life-threatening emergencies outside the hospital environment. An EMT learns the basics in how to handle cardiac and respiratory arrest, heart attacks, seizures, diabetic emergencies, respiratory problems and other medical emergencies. He or she also learns how to manage traumatic injuries such as falls, fractures, lacerations and burns. An EMT is also introduced into patient assessment, history taking and vital signs.
What skills does a basic EMT perform?
An EMT can perform CPR, artificial ventilations, oxygen administration, basic airway management, defibrillation using an AED, spinal immobilization, vital signs and bandaging/splinting. An EMT may administer nitroglycerin, glucose, epinephrine and albuterol in special circumstances.
What skills does a paramedic perform?
A paramedic performs all of the skills performed by an EMT-Basic. In addition, he or she performs advanced airway management such as endotracheal intubation. A paramedic obtains electrocardiographs (ECGs), introduces intravenous lines and administers numerous emergency medications. A paramedic assesses ECG tracings and defibrillates. He or she has extensive training in patient assessment and is exposed to a variety of clinical experiences during training.